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The Warriors

The Warriors

What He said:

He

I forget exactly how old I was the first time I saw this movie, but it was somewhere around the age when young men stop playing with toys (kids didn’t stop playing with toys at the age of 8 like they do nowadays) and was more focused on being cooler and more adult. This usually involved wearing sports clothing – of teams we didn’t even cheer for, but liked the colors or logo – listening to rap music, watching movies like this, and pretending we were tougher than we were. I think I only saw it once, but I remember some of my buddies were obsessed with this movie and The Wanderers as well.

So a few nights ago, I was looking for something to watch. I had watched Judgement Night (review here) and Trespass (review here) several months back and was recently again in the mood for some urban violence, suspense, and entertainment of the street gang variety. I remembered that Walter Hill had directed Trespass, so I decided to look up his name on Amazon Prime and came across The Warriors. I hadn’t seen it in years and it was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for, so I decided to revisit this cult classic.

Cyrus (Roger Hill) is the leader of the Griffs. They are the most powerful gang in all of New York City. He has called for a truce between all of the gangs, because he wants to talk about the future. He sees himself as something of a visionary and wants to unite all of the gangs against their common enemies: the police and mafia. Cyrus believes the city is theirs for the taking as long as they put aside their differences. He thinks they can be the most powerful group in the city if they become one large super gang.

The Warriors

Most seem to like his ideas, but not everyone is in agreement. Something happens to threaten the truce. Chaos ensues, the police show up, and everyone scatters like cockroaches when you turn the lights on. The Warriors – a gang from Coney Island – are blamed for breaking the truce by a rival gang named the Rogues. The Rogues are led by a guy named Luther. It turns out Luther (David Patrick Kelly) has actually framed The Warriors. He is the one who stirred up the trouble that breaks the truce, but claims the Warriors were the ones responsible.  He’s also kind of insane. He reminds me of that story Alfred tells Bruce in The Dark Knight about some people who just rotten down to their core. The bad news for the Warriors is that the other gangs believe him.

If you think that’s a bad break, the trouble is only beginning for these guys. They have to fight their way back to Coney Island. The cops are looking for anyone wearing any gang colors and every other gang in the city is looking for the Warriors for breaking the truce. If they aren’t being chase by the cops, they are being chased by a bunch of lunatics dressed like a cross between killer clowns and baseball players. I mean, come on! Just look at those guys. There is no way they are operating on all cylinders. They scream sociopaths. Then you’ve got these guys.   They have got a bus load – literally – of people who are ready to kick ass at the drop of a hat. Then of course there’s still that nut job Luther, who seems hell-bent on framing the Warriors. These are only a fraction of the people who are trying to capture, maim, or kill the Warriors that evening. Talk about a bad day, sheesh!

The Warriors

The Warriors are led by Swan. He (Michael Beck) is thrust into a leadership position when they get separated from their leader Cleon (Dorsey Wright). This annoys Ajax greatly. He (James Remar greatly) believes he should be the one in charge Cleon and is willing to fight Swan for it. Swan and the gang basically tell him they don’t have time for this since they’re running for their lives and he reluctantly agrees. Neither character is particularly likeable to be honest. Besides the fact they are….in a gang, neither is a particularly nice person. Ajax is pretty much an ass hole from top-to-bottom. He is very quick to resort to violence – even against his own gang – sexist, homophobic, and an overall unpleasant guy. Swan isn’t much better.  He’s less impulsive than Ajax, but no more respectful of the ladies than Ajax is. 

Speaking of which, along the way the guys meet up with a gal named Mercy. Mercy (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) is a real peach. She is mouthy, rude, crude, and even gets them into trouble on occasion. But for some reason, she seems to like the Warriors, and tags along with them on their adventure. She’s not the kind of gal you take home to mom, but that being said, the way Swan treats her is pretty badly at times.

But you’re not really watching this movie because you are looking for heroes. This is a movie about gangs and the type of stuff they deal with because of their lifestyle choice. These are people who choose to steal, fight, and do a lot worse, simply because they like it. They like living by their own set of rules and make no apologies for it. 

The Warriors

Michael Beck is great as Swan. Swan is a calm and cool kind of guy who always has a plan. He may come off as quiet, but it’s because he usually has a plan. He’s strategizes when faced when a problem as opposed to Ajax who wants to take things head on. Speaking of Ajax, James Remar did an excellent job at making me dislike this dirt bag. Not a great person, but someone you love to hate, despite the fact you are following him throughout the movie. Deborah Van Valkenburgh was good as Mercy as well. She was annoying and you can’t blame the guys for how they treat her at times, but others you just pity this gal. She’s just so pathetic that she latches onto anything with a penis. Then there is Luther, who is sort of pulling the strings behind the scenes. The movie doesn’t totally elaborate on why he is doing what he is doing. It might be because he has a beef with the Warriors and is on some kind of revenge mission, or it could be because the guy is just nuts and likes to cause pain and misery. It’s pretty ambiguous, but it works because you really buy that he is crazy enough to be doing it for either reason. 

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on September 6, 2013.

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